Lack of awareness hinders cancer fight

Nairobi: November 28th, 2011: Lack of awareness on cancer is hindering the fight against cancer, which according to experts is quickly becoming an epidemic in Africa.

Speaking ahead of a regional Summit on Cancer in Nairobi organized by Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, Medical Director, Pfizer for East Africa, Nigeria and Ghana, Dr. Kodjo Soroh said there was need for a more cohesive and united front in advocacy to drive policy change on issues concerning cancer prevention and management in Africa.

“Figures from the World Health Organisation are chilling but more chilling is the fact that there is very little being done not only by governments but other stakeholders. The Nairobi Cancer Summit is aimed at setting a blueprint for ‘coordinated and sustained advocacy especially in the area of primary preventive strategies for Cancer among key patient advocacy groups and non- governmental organizations. We are here to explore better ways in which we can help alleviate the plight of those who have cancer as well as how we can better disseminate information on cancer prevention,” said Dr. Soroh.

He continued: “The key messages of ‘awareness, early diagnosis, and early treatment leading to guaranteed survival must be integrated into these strategies for us to successfully tackle the monster of cancer. Pfizer is a major player in the field of oncology through its provision of quality medicines and strong commitment to research and development of drugs for cancer care.”

World Health Organisation estimates that African states will account for more than a million new cancer cases per year out of a total of 16million cases worldwide. According to Global Medicine (2011), the incidence of cancer in Kenya is on the rise, with over 82,000 new cases reported annually. Cancer ranks third among the main causes of death in Kenya after infections and cardiovascular or heart related diseases. Cancer accounts for up to 18,000 deaths annually in Kenya.

The summit bring together healthcare practitioners, heads of non-governmental organizations, civil societies, medical and pharmaceutical associations, members of leading patient advocacy groups as well as concerned stakeholders from the private and public sector to help map out strategies for increasing access to quality care and information on cancer prevention and management.

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